Avenging Canadians rule Aussies, 12-9 11-4 win moves unbeaten Japan into play-in game

July 20, 1998|By Jamison Hensley and Eduardo A. Encina

Canada proved that there is more to its national lacrosse team than just the Gait brothers.

With All-World midfielders Paul and Gary Gait held in check, John Grant scored five goals, including four of his team's last five goals, as Canada defeated Australia, 12-9, last night in the World Games round robin at Homewood Field.

The Gait brothers combined for a goal and an assist for Canada, which avenged a loss to Australia in the 1994 World Games semifinals. Canada (3-0) plays the United States tonight for the top seed in the tournament, which begins on Wednesday.

Trailing 9-4 early in the third quarter, Australia went on a four-goal spurt to reduce the deficit to 9-8 two minutes into the fourth quarter. But Grant answered 1: 14 later by converting a feed from Tom Marechek to push the advantage to 10-8.

Australia never got within a goal again.

"They were telling all week to keep my feet moving," said Grant, who plays at the University of Delaware. "Sometimes I've been standing still and I haven't been touching the ball."

Japan 11, Germany 4: The Japanese scored five consecutive goals in the game's first 24 minutes and never relinquished the lead in a matchup of Red Division leaders.

Japan clinched first place and remained unbeaten at 4-0 in the division, clinching a berth in the play-in game at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

Using a quick and physical defense, Japan frustrated and stifled a German offense that had averaged more than 10 goals in their previous three games. Japanese coach Yoshihiro Okubo said his team focused its defense on play-making attackman Taylor Simmers, who entered the game with a tournament-high 12 assists.

"We came into this game thinking that both teams had good offenses and were going to score lots of goals," Okubo told an interpreter. "So on defense, we tried to keep [Simmers] away from the goal and frustrate him."

Simmers was held without an assist for the first time in the tournament.

As a result, Germany (3-1) didn't score its first goal until the 4: 50 mark in the second period when midfielder Jason Jankowski weaved through two defenders and launched a right-handed bounce shot past Japanese goalie Yuji Shimada. It was 5-1 at the half.

Sweden 9, Czech Republic 8: Midfielder Jan Samuelsson scored the winning goal with 30 seconds remaining, capping a four-goal fourth period that rallied the Swedes from an 8-5 third-period deficit.

"I just got lucky," he said. "I was in the right place. That's my job to pick up the trash."

Samuelsson's goal came after teammate John Sagrelius bounced a shot off a defender's stick. Samuelsson picked up the ball and shot the winner from in front of the net. The Swedes had a two-man advantage for the last 46 seconds because of two Czech slashing penalties.

The win marked the first time Sweden has defeated the Czechs since 1993 and gave the Czechs a disappointing 1-3 record in the Red Division.

The Czechs took a 6-5 lead with 13 seconds left in the half and then scored the only two goals in the third period.

Scotland 14, Wales 9: Scotland's 8-4 advantage in the second half held off a pesky opponent searching for its first tournament win.

Scotland needed four second-half goals from attacker Neil Doddridge to preserve a 6-5 halftime lead in the Red Division matchup. Attacker Martin Clarke helped the Scotland cause with five goals and three assists.

Goaltender John Marr, 59, continued to be a fan favorite, recording 14 saves in 74 minutes for Scotland, who will play the Czechs today.

Pub Date: 7/20/98

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